by Wendy Strgar October 06, 2012
I have been out of my relationship almost as long as I was in it but I can’t seem to go on. I have dated a little, but am so afraid of being hurt again that I find some excuse to break it off before anything can happen- good or bad. I feel like I am just going through the motions in my life. Why can’t I just accept my husband leaving me and move on? Any ideas about how to re- start my life?
Thank you for sharing this very personal and challenging question that I believe is experienced by millions in one form or another. Perhaps the most normal and least helpful response that we humans have to our emotional pain and fear is the habit of looking away or trying to suppress our feelings. Most of us are not trained or adept at dealing with the fear, rejection and pain that life and relationships often present. Emotional injuries from childhood that were never processed become silent filters that impact how we perceive and understand our entire lives.
Our feelings can seem so large and overwhelming that they threaten to consume us whole. When we refuse our emotional experiences, they grow into demons that become the lifeblood of our identity. The demons that run our lives become an infinite number of manifestations… They are as unique as we are in personality yet universal in the needs we all share. The problem you mentioned of broken-heartedness can include everything from conflicts with people we love, to anxiety about communicating, discomfort with our appearance, the terror of being abandoned, or the shame of feeling worthless.We demonize our emotional experiences by our inability to attend to them. Anything that calls for our attention and is continuously rebuffed will become an active demon inside of you.
The issue of demonizing our fears and pain is as old as recorded history. It was first recorded in ancient Buddhist practices one thousand years ago. The practice has been translated and modernized for our times in an extremely user friendly version called Feeding your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict. Written by a former Buddhist nun, Tsultrim Allione, the book provides a helpful five step process to identifying and attending to the experiences and emotions that prevent us from joining life.
Although the idea of feeding and nurturing our internal enemies flies in the face of the conventional approach of overcoming and eliminating our weaknesses, getting intimate with the parts of ourselves that we generally unsuccessfully cut off from ourselves makes great sense. Instead of battling with the places that scare us, we invite them in, take a good look at them and try to find a way to give them what they need. If ever a Buddhist path offered a way to true liberation, this is it. And you don’t even have to sit, you just have to be courageous enough to embody your feelings and listen.
Dismantling and integrating our internal demons has the added benefit of developing the skills of attending and turning towards our feelings before they become the monsters that can control us.
by Wendy Strgar May 22, 2018
There is no time like long summer nights to cultivate our uniquely, profoundly human capacity for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure. Our pleasure response transforms our relationship to each other and even to life itself. Focusing on pleasure not only changes how we see our opportunities for intimate connection, but also invites us into a deeper relationship with our erotic soul.
by Wendy Strgar May 17, 2018
It becomes hard to trust your own thinking when nothing seems to be working. The space between how I thought it would go and how it is going seems to widen in front of my eyes. Maybe most difficult of all is how often the undesirable outcomes around us spill over into our relationships, both at home and at work. An errant comment too easily turns into an argument. I become blind to my impact on people around me, caught up in the unresolved problems surrounding me. During times like these, we often underestimate the power of the choices we make and how it can create a path back towards what’s working or down the slippery slope of self-destruction, which my husband affectionately calls “flirting with the gutter.”
Here is my short list to making it better when it isn’t working at all. Each one helps you do the next one, so start at the beginning and work your way down.
by Wendy Strgar May 03, 2018